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Norman home declared nuisance under little-known law

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NORMAN, Okla. - A group of Norman neighbors are claiming victory in a long battle against a neighborhood nuisance.

Residents on Cruce St. in Norman said they were fed up after police had been called to 1207 Cruce 70 times over the last year and a half on things like assault, drugs and even indecent exposure.

"It was nothing to come home and see five or six police cars parked on the street," neighbor Augie Willige said.

Willige and his wife, Teresa, said they had stopped letting their grandchildren play in the front yard.

"We were concerned that someone might grab them or anything else," she said.

Residents took their concerns to their city councilman who called a neighborhood meeting.

"One gentleman said that he always has his gun with him when he's in the house now and another lady who's disabled carries a hammer with her and you know, when people are frightened to that point, then they're not able to enjoy their own homes any more," Councilman Tom Kovach said.

Last week, the Norman city council voted unanimously to deem the property a nuisance, using a little known city ordinance for the first time.

"The city council can decide to pull the water meter from the house which makes it uninhabitable and we do that for six months," Kovach said.

City council members and neighbors said it sends a strong message about what will be tolerated in their community.

"It's a victory for us and I believe it's going to be a victory for the city of Norman, I really do," Augie Willige said.

Under the nuisance property ordinance, the utilities to the home will be shut off for six months.

Neighbors said they are hoping the homeowner will either sell the house or tear it down.